Australia – Lao PRD Human Rights Dialogue Civil Society Consultation Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

7 June 2017

(Report by Chander Khera)

On 7 June 2017, Mr. Chander Khera of ACHRE attended civil society consultations at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on the forthcoming Australia-Laos Human Rights Dialogue.

DFAT noted they have received a number of submissions from civil society, but are open to receive additional submissions until the end of July 2017.

DFAT noted that the dialogue was an important bilateral engagement, where discussions are frank and open and the aim being to promote best practices in Human Rights. While the agenda for the dialogue is still being finalised, areas of discussions include: social and economic laws, death penalty, rights of minorities and freedom of religious beliefs. In addition, the focus would be on education because education is one of the core areas of Australian aid to Laos.

The Australian delegation to the dialogue would have DFAT staff, one or more members of parliament and representative(s) of the Australian Human Rights Commission. At the end of the dialogue, DFAT plans to debrief the civil society.

Since the above report, Australia and Laos held the dialogue on 18 July 2017. A summary of the dialogue is available from http://dfat.gov.au/news/media/Pages/5th-australia-lao-pdr-human-rights-dialogue.aspx